Millennials are demanding big changes to traditional performance management.
Some call them entitled, lazy, disloyal, and shallow. Others call them ambitious, entrepreneurial, tech-savvy, and innovative. Regardless of your personal opinion about millennials, the fact is that they are taking today’s workplace by storm and will soon be the dominant force in enterprises around the world. If you haven’t already adapted your company’s performance management process to the changing needs and preferences of millennials, the time to start is now.
With its 80 million members across America, millennials will make up half of the country’s workforce by 2018 and 75% of it by 2025. Their preferences for development and professional feedback are drastically different than those of their elders. Here’s what you need to know about millennials in order to adapt your performance review processes to one they will respond to with increased engagement, positivity and productivity.
1. Enhance Performance Reviews with Technology
Millennials were raised an age of unparalleled connectedness, thanks to the technology and media that has surrounded them throughout their lives. In fact, most millennials have never really known a life without computers or the internet. They’re accustomed to using technology to find information, achieve new goals and solve problems.
There’s a few key things you can do to adapt your processes to millennials’ affinity for technology:
Adjust your strategy to integrate the power, flexibility, and possibilities that are only possible with technology. A partner like KPISOFT can help seemlessly integrate technology into your performance management process.
Look for ways to incorporate mobile devices, software, apps and web-based tools into your feedback loops and review practices.
Don’t be afraid to try new tools! From simple team chat tools that connect teams for quick collaboration to full KPI tracking apps, your organization can start experimenting with new technology in whatever way works best for you.
2. Improve Performance Management by Increasing Communication
Gone are the days where annual reviews and, perhaps, quarterly “check-ins” would suffice. Millennials want more. Much more.
A recent survey of 1,400 millennials was conducted by SuccessFactors in partnership with Oxford Economics.
Over the course of the study, they found that millennials want more feedback from their managers. While non-millennials may still be comfortable with infrequent communication with their supervisors, millennials seek it at least monthly. In fact, when compared to other employees, millennials want feedback 50% more often.
This may seem like millennials want a lot of your time; and that would be true if millennials wanted was the same traditional performance reviews of years past. However, that’s not what millennials are looking for - not at all. Instead, millennials crave continuous, ongoing, informal feedback. They want to know how they are performing - good, bad or otherwise - as they are working, not just a few times per year.
In other words, don’t wait until a scheduled review or formal meeting to tell a millennial how they’re doing: coach them on ways to improve, or provide constructive criticism. Take opportunities to provide feedback immediately after their actions, activities, or behaviors warrant it.
3. Make Performance Reviews a Natural Fit For Your Corporate Culture
If traditional annual reviews seem awkward or out of place with the way your workplace flows, take it as a red flag that it’s time for a change. It’s time to establish a performance management system that fits with your company’s culture.
If this seems like a challenge to you, you’re not alone. Deloitte's Human Capital Trends 2015 survey of more than 3,300 business and human resources leaders around the world found that "Culture and Engagement" was the top challenge among today’s workplaces. In previous years, this issue barely even made it onto the survey’s report. Now, nearly 90% of the companies surveyed identified it as their greatest concern.
It’s no coincidence that culture and engagement are top concerns among millennials, too. They want to work at places where they feel like they fit, can be themselves and contribute greatly to a strong team. Foster that desire for “fit” by encouraging the growth of a new culture within your workplace. Look for ways your company can grow and adapt without leaving its core values behind. Identify opportunities to become better and stronger by evolving to the needs of this new generation of employees.
Regardless of how many millennials you have on your team today, it is certain that you will have more as time goes by. Companies that begin working now to adapt their performance review processes to millennials will lay the groundwork for stronger, more engaged, and more productive workforces for years to come.
It’s more important now than ever before to take the time to build a performance review process that leverages technology and fits with your team, its goals, its communication preferences and its aspirations for growth. If you need help figuring out what that looks like for your organization, contact KPISOFT today for a free, no-obligation demo.